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LET THE SUN SHINE IN Maximizing natural light boosts morale, productivity

Pocono Hall on the Monroe Campus of Northampton Community College, which opened the new Tannersville campus in 2014. Students and workers perform better when exposed to natural daylight.

Businesses are seeing the light – natural light, that is.

Businesses are seeing the light – natural light, that is.

Having access to daylight can increase productivity for people who work indoors. It’s an innate, human desire to want daylight exposure, and companies are paying attention.

They’re designing spaces that maximize natural light, improving employee morale and wellness and creating more dedicated, focused and productive workers – at the same time capturing cost savings and sustainability features.

It’s a trend that’s seen in the Greater Lehigh Valley with the recent construction of large window-bountiful buildings for such companies as Guardian Life Insurance, Gateway Ticketing Systems and office buildings designed for The Waterfront. Educational institutions, such as Northampton Community College, have gotten in on the act, as well.

“It’s part of the sustainability movement,” said Todd Chambers, a partner and architect at MKSD architects of South Whitehall Township. “The more light that enters the space, the less artificial light you need to provide. There are proven mental health aspects.”

These benefits can be seen in the quicker recovery times documented in hospitals and health care centers that have a lot of natural light entering their interior spaces, he said. Students also perform better in schools where they are exposed to natural light.

And, of course, similar benefits apply to office workers, which particularly helps this time of year when days get shorter.

“People seem to have a more positive attitude,” Kimberly Gruber, manager of workspace planning, corporate real estate for Guardian, said of the company’s new home. “I’ve seen more smiles.”

A Berks County firm designed a new corporate headquarters for a software company looking to provide a more open, inviting workspace with additional sources of natural light.

Muhlenberg Greene Architects of Wyomissing designed the Gateway Ticketing Systems building, which opened in 2014 in Colebrookdale Township, a two-story structure with multiple, wide windows and outdoor seating areas.

Brian Pedersen
Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4108.

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